Yet another Thai man has sued Chotisak Onsoong for not standing during the Royal Anthem in a cinema, as well as two websites for allowing discussion about this in their forums.
On April 28, Sunimit Jirasuk, 36, resident of Khon Kaen province in Northeastern Thailand, filed charges under Article 116 (2) of the Thai Criminal Code with Khon Kaen police against Chotisak, for offending the monarchy and inciting unrest, and Fah Diew Kan (www.sameskybooks.org) and Prachatai websites for publishing threads of discussions by readers who supported Chotisak’s act.
“There are many comments supporting Chotisak’s claim that people who stand for the Royal Anthem are those who like the Sakdina system [Thai feudalism]. One post says that she is married to a foreigner, and will tell her husband not to stand either, because she has long disliked the monarchy. And one person rudely parodies the lyrics of the Royal Anthem. As a Thai with great respect toward the monarchy, I can’t stand this,’ Sunimit said.
He said there were more than 90 comments on one of the websites, both supporting and disagreeing with Chotisak’s act. But most of them were supportive and showed a desire to abolish the monarchy. He believed that, by allowing open discussion on the internet, both websites demonstrated their intent to be focal points of those who wanted to eliminate the monarchy.
Sunimit said that he did not know Chotisak in person, but he was struck by what Chotisak did and could not accept that Chotisak and friends claimed to be Thai while doing this to the King.
He dared Chotisak and friends to come see a movie in Khon Kaen, and he would like to see if all King-loving Thais would easily let them leave the cinema.
“I beg Thai people not to keep silent when this kind of thing happens or there is any attempt in any form to destroy the monarchy. We have to come out to protect our revered institution. Don’t be idle, and let these insolent people continue what they do,” said Sunimit.
Article 116 (2) of the Thai Criminal Code stipulates that anybody who publicizes verbally or in writing or by any other means in a manner which is not constitutional or not in good faith to affect changes in laws or government by force, to incite unrest among the public, or to persuade people to violate the laws, is subject to a maximum of 7 years imprisonment.
Chotisak and his friend Chutima Penpak were earlier charged in Bangkok with lèse majesté offences under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code by Navamintr Witthayakul after a scuffle in a cinema in September last year.
Now Chotisak and Chutima’s act of defiance has been the subject of a heated debate in internet forums, and was described by a moderator of Manager Groups’ ASTV as linked to a subversive attempt of the pro-Thaksin camp to abolish ‘Democracy with the King as Head of State’.
Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code stipulates the penalty for a lèse majesté offence as 3 to 15 years imprisonment.